5 years, 2 months, and 4 days. Arrogance prohibits you from being the best you can be, so don’t be arrogant.

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/47/69/4e/47694e4319ae46dbc7d552528137541f.jpgMy dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Because of the ubiquity of the problems of, relating to, and caused by arrogance, allow me to expand upon it a bit more before we move on.  Before we get into the nitty-gritty of that conversation, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite shows, “The Newsroom”.  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1870479/.

In one episode, MacKenzie, who is the executive producer in that newsroom, said of Will, the star anchor of the newsroom:

You know what I like about Will? He’s not absolutely sure about anything. He struggles with things. He’s never certain he’s right and sometimes he’s not. But he tries hard to be. He struggles with things.

https://www.quotes.net/show-quote/60552 (emphasis added)

I love those lines because they put into practice another teaching to which I aspire to live by:


Stated differently,


Perfect knowledge rarely, if ever, exists.  Life and circumstances will always dictate how much time and resources you can devote to any given decision.  Thus, all you can do is make the best decision you could under the circumstances — given the time and resource constraints.

Absolute knowledge is an illusion most often grasped by self-delusional fools.  Thus, I love that Will struggles with decisions.  Getting it right is hard!  Making the right decision is a struggle if you really cared about the outcome of that decision.  It is a challenge to identify all the appropriate and relevant stakeholders, the appropriate and relevant data points on which your decision should rest, and the appropriate analytical strategies and processes that should be brought to bear in making your decision. Only fools claim otherwise or think otherwise.

As an aside, this reminds me of a great advice that originated from Dartmouth College on how to organize and structure your paper when writing: once you’ve finished brainstorming and data-gathering,

Keep working [your outline] until … [it] fits your idea like a glove.  When you think you have an outline that works, challenge it. I’ve found when I write that the first outline never holds up to a good interrogation. When you start asking questions of your outline, you will begin to see where the plan holds, and where it falls apart. Here are some questions that you might ask:

  • Does my thesis control the direction of my outline?
  • Are all of my main points relevant to my thesis?
  • Can any of these points be moved around without changing something important about my thesis?
  • Does the outline seem logical?
  • Does my argument progress, or does it stall?
  • If my argument seems to take a turn, mid-stream, does my thesis anticipate that turn?
  • Do I have sufficient support for each of my points?
  • Have I made room in my outline for other points of view about my topic?
  • Does this outline reflect a thorough, thoughtful argument? Have I covered the ground?
 https://rosenenglish.weebly.com/uploads/1/4/1/4/14147635/how_to_structure_and_organize_your_paper.pdf (emphasis in the original)

Planning your decision-making strategies is not that different from outlining your paper.  Both require you to ensure you have the most relevant and appropriate data points, that the process and logic of getting from where you start to where you hope to end are sound, and that your arguments are coherent and cohesive.  If you replaced the words “goal” for “thesis” and “decision-making process” for “outline”, then you may find useful the above-listed questions in your decision-making process.

With that background, we now turn to our original point: the arrogant thinks he know all, and this delusion inhibits his motivation to reexamine his data or analyses.  Thus, he fails.  Thus, he can never be the best he could be.  As my mother always said, “Even a dog can catch a fly every once in a while when he yawns.”  Luck may intervene and produce a good outcome from a bad decision-making process, but Lady Luck is fickle.  It is best to not leave in her hands the outcome you hope to achieve.

Think critically and plan your decision-making process carefully.  Don’t let pride, arrogance, etc., interfere with critical, clear, and appropriately expansive thinking.  If you do this, success will find you.

Critical thinking is necessary to problem solving, and the world always needs problem-solvers.  What does it take to solve problems?  You must

  1. identify with clarity and precision what is the problem you’re tying to solve — in graduate school at Duke University, we spent a significant amount of time on this step for each project;
  2. know intimately the stakeholders involved and what their objectives, interests, needs, and fears are — without the support of stakeholders, your strategy will likely fail (even if it were the best and most appropriate strategy) because the key players will not help you and may even work against you;
  3. find a pathway that achieves your goal and gets the relevant and critical stakeholders on board — you can’t please everyone, but you must gain the support of the most critical players;
  4. execute according to your plan — too many fail this step; and
  5. continue to revisit and update your data and strategies as necessary during the execution stage to ensure you remain on track to achieving your goal and are using the latest and most relevant information available — don’t forget: it’s a reiterative process.

(If you think about it, the above problem-solving/decision-making process is not unlike the writing process where you must identify the purpose of and audience for your writing, brainstorm for ideas, outline your arguments, write, and rewrite.  Thus, the above-reference to the Dartmouth method of outlining is not wholly inappropriate.)

Anyway, I digressed.  My sons, always think critically.  Don’t allow pride or arrogance to interfere with your critical thinking process.

Too often, people fail because they think they know it all (i.e., they are arrogant) and fail to understand their audience, markets, or stakeholders.  As a result, they fail to gather all the necessary and relevant data point in order to devise the best strategy for outcomes which would meet the needs of their audience, markets, or stakeholders.

Be not like them.

All my love, always,




5 years, 2 months, and 3 days. Beware of the ignorant and arrogant. A wise man knows what he doesn’t know.





My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Today’s lesson is really a permutation of the last.  Emotion (in this case, pride) interferes with critical thinking and produces bad results.

We see this all the time in both the young and old.  For example, when you were a toddler, Shosh, you once said, “I know French — ‘french fries’!”  You were proud — rightfully so — of having made the connection between “French” as a language and the use of that word in “french fries”.  What you said as a two-year-old is adorable.  However, when such sentiments are expressed by adults, they only make the speakers appear foolish.  For example, a college graduate — who is a teacher no less! — once explained to me that drinking coffee will darken your skin, and drinking milk will whiten it.  Yeah, right….

Unfortunately, such foolishness is not limited to those without advanced degrees.  For example, someone who attended Tuft University’s Graduate School of International Affairs for a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy claimed she knew as much law a lawyer with a Juris Doctor.  Another, who claims to have two master’s degrees and worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative, claimed she knew as much about medicine as a Medical Doctor.  Recently, I overheard two Ph.D.’s assert that government issued driver licenses and other identification papers based on a fraudulent birth certificates (i.e., not one’s own) are valid because the papers are government issued.  Wow…

(Regarding the latter, it should go without saying that anything achieved under fraud pretense cannot be cured by a subsequent lawful act because that latter was obtained under false pretense.  For example, if someone stole my car and sold it for good money to an unsuspecting buyer on Craigslist, although the purchase may have followed all legal formalities [i.e., the seller forged my name on the car registration and the buyer successfully submitted it to the DMV to obtain a new DMV-issued registration for the car in the buyer’s name], the sale would still be invalid because the “seller” stole the car and was not its true owner.  This is not hard to understand.  See, e.g., https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-07-99-00570.pdf.)



Remember when I said what people say tells you something about them?  What do these things tell you about the speakers?  Are they wise or are they foolish?

Don’t be like them.  Don’t let emotions, including pride and arrogance, cloud your judgement.

Likewise, don’t let cultural mores blind you and cloud your judgement.  For example, in the Asian tradition, age is respected.  As my mother always said, “70 learns from 71”.  While that may have once been true in olden times, when formal education was limited to the few and experience was the teacher for the masses, in modern age, when education is accessible to the many, it is no longer valid. A  17 year-old with the academic degree Doctor of Medicine knows significantly more about medicine than a 90 year-old layman.  http://www.kansashealthcarecareers.com/10-youngest-doctors-in-the-world/.  Out of politeness, accord your elders a modicum of respect.  However, that respect is temporary and lasts only until you have gathered sufficient information to judge on your own whether respect is appropriate.  In other words, an elder telling you to do something doesn’t not entitle you to suspend your critical thinking faculties.  Any failure resulting from your action would remain with you, not the person who told you to take that action. Thus, don’t let cultural norms, like respect for the elder, cloud your critical thinking.  Sometimes,


Remember, your mind is your greatest asset.  Money, title, fame, etc., may come and go, but if you have a sharp mind, you will always be able to rebuild.  Friends of ours lost everything to a false friends who robbed them blind, but they were able to rebuild their lives to a higher degree than it was.

Because your mind is your greatest asset, make the most of it.  Be informed.  Think critically, broadly, and clearly.

Also, protect your greatest asset.  Take good care of it.  Nourish and use your mind well.

As reported in an article in The Lancet, researchers in San Diego examined the death records of almost 30,000 Chinese-Americans and compared them to over 400,000 randomly selected white people. What they found was that Chinese-Americans, but not whites, die significantly earlier than normal (by as much as five years) if they have a combination of disease and birth year which Chinese astrology and Chinese medicine consider ill-fated.

The researchers found that the more strongly the Chinese-Americans attached to traditional Chinese superstitions, the earlier they died….

The researchers concluded that they died younger not because they have Chinese genes, but because they have Chinese beliefs. They believe they will die younger because the stars have hexed them. And their negative beliefs manifested as a shorter life span.

It’s not just Chinese Americans whose fears about their health can result in negative health outcomes. One study showed that 79% of medical students report developing symptoms suggestive of the illnesses they are studying. Because they get paranoid and think they’ll get sick, their bodies comply by getting sick.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9690/scientific-proof-that-negative-beliefs-harm-your-health.html#. (emphasis added)


My dearest sons, I love you more than words can describe, and I want the best for you.  Surround yourself with good people and positive role models. Avoid, like the plague, bad elements.  They do nothing but hurt you — even if only by modeling bad examples, limiting your world view and dreams, etc.  This includes relatives on your mother’s side who have felony conviction, who have been banned from driving because of repeated substance abuse, and whose friends got into a knife fight during the wedding ceremony.  Try to spend more time with my side of the family, where most of use have college degrees, many of us have advanced degrees, and most of us hold notable positions with prestigious organizations.

All my love, always,


5 years, 1 month, and 20 days. Practice humility: pride comes before the fall.




My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I miss you so.  I’m sorry to have been out of pocket this past week.

My sons, I cannot stress enough the import of being true to, and honest with, yourself.  Be proud of who you are and of what you have accomplished.  However, do NOT be PRIDEFUL and arrogant.  That is unbecoming of a gentleman, and not the person I hope you’d become.

Pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins “— sins that kill the life of sanctifying grace.”  http://www.dummies.com/religion/christianity/catholicism/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-the-catholic-church/.

Pride fools you into thinking that you’re the source of your own greatness.

Liking yourself isn’t sinful. In fact, it’s healthy and necessary, but when the self-perception no longer conforms to reality, and you begin to think that you’re more important than you actually are, the sin of pride is rearing its ugly head.

REMEMBER: Pride is the key to all other sins, because after you believe that you’re more important than you actually are, you compensate for it when others don’t agree with your judgment. You rationalize your behavior and make excuses for lying, cheating, stealing, insulting, ignoring, and such, because no one understands you like you do. In your mind, you’re underestimated by the world.

Humility is the best remedy for pride. Catholicism regards humility as recognizing that talent is really a gift from God.


I know of a 60+ year-old woman who, to make herself look good, still brags about a job she lost more than 10 years ago and about how she managed tens of thousands of employees who worked in the company.  Her pride caused her to fabricate wholesale a false narrative about the height to which she had reached in the corporate.  Fools may fall for her lie, but anyone with  knowledge about corporations know that only the CEO has the authority to manage, hire, or fire any employee within the company.  Other executives and managers only have the authority to manage those employees within his or her department, and no more.  Thus, this lady created pure fiction when she claimed management authority over all employees in the company.

Now, it is my understanding that the lady made this assertion in the midst of a discussion regarding possible collaborative project with others.  How do you think the prideful and false assertion worked out for her?  It takes little imagination to know she lost much credibility as a result.  If she were willing to fabricate lies about inconsequential matters, to what length would she fabricate untruths about matters of consequence?

The lessons here are two-fold, my sons.  First, honesty is the best policy.  It is exhausting to keep abreast of what lies you have told to whom.  (Watch Mrs. Doubtfire for an entertaining but poignant example of the impossible challenges of living a false narrative.

Second, pride comes before the fall.  Don’t make up stuff just to make yourself look good.  The truth will eventually be revealed.  Be you, but be the best you.  Be more kind than necessary, and help make the world a better place for you and everyone in it.  But, don’t be prideful.  Be honest about yourself and your contributions.  We stand on the shoulders of our predecessors, and would not have made the strides we did but for them.  Give credit where it is due.

I have had the fortune of working with some amazing people during my career.  Those I enjoy working with best and admire most — who also happen to be the most successful professionally — are the ones who are most humble in their approaches.  For example, I once sought help from a colleague who is an expert on tax laws (and who is now a partner at one of the top-tier law firms).  He candidly explained that he could help me with a couple of my lines of inquiry but that I would best be served by asking another colleague of ours (who is another tax expert) questions relating to the other line of inquiry.  He knew his area of expertise, and he knew enough of the other area to answer my preliminary questions, but feared that if I dug deeper, I’d hit the limits of his knowledge.  Thus, it was best to approach the lawyer with the most expertise in that area.

A wise man knows what he doesn’t know.  Others, like children, often claim they know everything.  For example, Shosh, when you were about three years old, you said, “Dad, I know French! ‘French fry!'” You were too cute.

As you engage with others, you will find that those most boastful are often those least skilled.  Those who are truly skilled have no need to boast because their work speaks for itself, and their sterling reputation rests, in part, on them not speaking outside of their areas of expertise.  Seek the company of the latter and avoid the former.

My advice to you to to better yourself, and be honest with yourself and others.  Let your work speaks for itself.  Be not prideful.

All my love, always,





5 years, 1 month, and 14 days. Always be you, and beware of hypocrites — those who pretend to be someone they’re not.






My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Beware of hypocrites, my sons.  They are abound and they often assume leadership roles after donning the mantle of virtues to cover up their vices.  A cursory search of the Internet and you’ll find lots of stories about “leaders” who publicly extol the virtues of family values while bedding prostitutes or otherwise cheating on their spouses, who publicly decry the harms of homosexuality while engaging in homosexual conducts behind closed doors and in dark corners, etc.

For example, there is an elderly woman who goes to church 3-4 times a day, befriends mostly priests and nuns and other members of religious orders, constantly talks about her charitable work helping the poor and the disenfranchised, and loves visiting the Holy Land and the Holy See.  From all appearances, one would think her place in heaven is assured.  However, her conducts do not always conform with her words. More often than not, she “helps” the poor while helping herself.  She uses the poor and the cripple to raise funds, a sizeable portion of which goes to support her lavish and jet-set lifestyle.

At least she is small fry and those she professed to help actually do receive help, albeit not as much as they would have had to minimized her expenditures and maximized benefits to those she promised to help.  There are scammers out there who steal millions from the poor and the dying, all while basking in the lie that they’re there to help the poor and the dying.  https://www.cnn.com/2013/06/13/us/worst-charities/index.html.

Much has been said in the news recently about the egregious conducts of Oxfam “leaders”, but I am not surprised.  The adage that people kiss up and shit down comes to mind.  While there are lots of good people out there who work hard to help the poor, the homeless, the elderly, and the disenfranchised, too often the dishonorable infiltrates their ranks and besmirch their good names by claiming to help those less fortunate but, in actuality, abusing the latter.

Years ago, while working at a refugee camp to provide free legals services to asylum seekers, I came across a little toad of Vietnamese man from Australia who claimed to volunteer overseas “to help” his people.  In truth, he was there to prey on the weak and helpless and to coerce one into becoming his bride.  Shortly after arrival, reportedly he pointed to the most beautiful young Vietnamese woman helping out in the office and announced that he’d marry her.  True to his words, shortly thereafter, he married her and quit his voluntary position.  (Asylum seekers in those days could spend years languishing in refugee camps and often look for marriages as the way out.  Often, the women would even offer to pay men to marry them.  Of course, this constitutes marriage fraud, is highly unethical, and is illegal.  Love can flourish even in the most dire of circumstances, but these sham marriages are often unbalanced relationships between those with power — the man with an overseas passport (often a loser who has been rejected by his female compatriots at home) — and those without — the powerless woman who has given up everything she’s known to face an uncertain future while languishing in a refugee camp.  There is nothing fair or virtuous about these sham marriages.)

At the same time, I met another winner who repeatedly tried and failed to gain admission to law school then who went about bragging how he intends to get “an MBA in history.”  Another winner.  Unfortunately, they were not alone.

The trick is to watch what people do, and not put too much faith in what they say.  If their conducts conform with their words, then believe them.  If not, then stay clear of them.

A man is only as good as his word.  If a person has no honor and use his or her words only to further his or her deceptions, then be wary of him or her.  It is only a matter of time before you, too, fall prey to his or her lies.

We are raised in honest households; thus, we are no match for those who spend their hours and minutes scheming to defraud others.  Thus, it is best to give such ilk wide berth.

Likewise, do not do anything that would cause you to fall among the ranks of the hypocrites and liars.  Be you.  Be the best you possible.  Live right.  It will not always be easy, but it will always be right.  And, who promised you that life would be easy?  It isn’t.  Regardless, you can still live well, my sons, and leave the world a better place than when you found.

I love you with all my heart,






5 years, 1 month, and 12 days. Live with purpose.

Intergenerational care: Where kids help the elderly live longer

‘Good things are happening’

“When we bring children and residents together, the elderly together, you can see right away that good things are happening,” Somers said.
These “good things” are evident to any observer.
More than 10 children make their way along the garden paths into the lounge where the residents are stretching their arms and shaking their legs. Most faces in the room are smiling, and a few residents reach out to encourage the kids to come toward them specifically.
As small children roam about, trying the exercises themselves, cuddling up to residents and in some cases performing headstands, the rest of the room comes alive.
“They’re responding to an external stimulus, which is a toddler with an adorable grin fumbling towards them, carrying a toy, trying to interact,” Somers said.
The benefits in terms of health are also clear to see.
Residents “very often forget their own physical limitations, and they find that they are encouraged; they stretch themselves; they will lean up out of their chair, extend a hand, engage in conversation,” she added.


My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

First, I give you Schubert’s Ave Maria.  It is more beautiful than I can describe and my go-to when I am overwhelmed by the ugliness in the world today.  I hope it will give you as much comfort and delight as it has given me over the years.

Second, I updated the homepage for this blog to provide a roadmap.  What started out simply as letters to you about lessons I have learned over the years — hoping these lessons would help you avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes I and others have made — has given rise to certain themes that if articulated might  help you better put these lessons into perspectives.  I copied the revised version below for your convenience.

Finally, I wanted to remind you to live life with purpose.  For some (many, actually), money or wealth is their raison d’etre.  But, that is an unwise choice.  On their deathbeds, no one asks for more time at the office making money.  Often, retirees lose their zest for life upon retirement because they lost their raison d’etre, their purpose in life.  As alluded to in the CNN article above, purpose is the zest of life … without it, we are lost and simply exist, not thrive.  I want you to thrive.

Years ago, when I sold books door to door, I met an elderly woman one early morning.  I knocked on her door, and, as we started to chat, she unloaded upon me a litany of ills that have befallen her.  After listening for a while, I asked, “Why do you get up in the morning, then?”  (Yes, I was young, and I was an idiot.  I would never be as blunt or rude today. Well, hopefully, I wouldn’t.)  At that point, she became upset and reversed herself, listing all the important things she had going on in her life and why it was important for her to get them done.  In other words, she changed her tune because she refocused on her purpose for living.

What do you live for?  I submit that you should live life to the fullest and make the world a better place along the way.  Below, in the revised homepage, are my thoughts on that.

I now leave you with my favorite quote from Hunter Thompson:


Enjoy your ride!  But, remember that you can do well by doing good along the way.

All my love, always,



My Dearest Shosh and Jaialai,

Life has its challenges and obstacles, but nothing changes that most basic, fundamental, and unadulterated truth: you two are the best things that have ever happened to me.  I am lucky to have you for my sons.

I love you with all my heart … always and forever.  Not a day passes that you are not in my thoughts, and your absence do not weigh heavily on my heart.

Current circumstances conspire to keep us apart.  But, that is only a temporary condition.  Know that everyday, I am doing my best to fight my way back to you so that I may be there to help you grow into the amazing men you will become.

These posts are but temporary solutions to fill the gap until my return. Through them, I hope to give you guidance and continue the lessons that were started from the moment you took your first breath — and took my breath away.

You will find that the overarching theme for this blog (and my life — and, hopefully, yours as well) is that WE SHOULD STRIVE TO LEAVE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE FOR HAVING LIVED.  That’s my Golden Rule.  Consequently, the Corollary is to HELP IF YOU CAN, BUT DO NO HARM IF YOU CANNOT HELP.

Specifically, how do you make the world a better place?  First, be the best YOU can be. No one can ask for more of you.

To achieve that goal, I share with you lessons I’ve learned about how to live well and what it takes to be successful in America.  Note two things: (1) I am talking specifically about what it takes to achieve what is considered to be professional success in the U.S. and not elsewhere in the world; and, (2) the focus is on success as defined by society at large and not on your personal definition of success.  Your definition may be different.  That’s OK.  But, know that if you chose that path, it would be a rougher road to hew.  The choice remains yours.

Second, fight evil wherever you find it.  This is your duty as a human being.  We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.  If not us, than who?  I am always mindful of the words of Martin Niemoller, the Protestant pastor who spoke out against the Nazi and suffered in the concentration camp as a result.  He said,

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


Regarding my prescriptions for a life well-lived, all I can say is be brave, my sons.  Be courageous enough to be the real you and the best you possible, despite the niggling comments of others.  Be strong enough to stand up for yourselves and your visions.  Be willing to fight for them.  Also, fight injustice.  Speak out against evil.

I know these are not small things I ask of you, but the world will tend towards disorder unless energy is expended to counteract the disorder.  If not us, then who?  We are the stewards of our world.  Do try to leave it a better place by actively working to make your little corner of the world a bit better than when you first found it and by stopping those who try to destroy whatever beauty lies there. A world without beauty is not a world in which we are meant to live and thrive.

Regarding our situation, be patient, my sons.  Be strong.  Be good.  The truth will prevail.  I promise.

It took me five years to fight the Enron of Healthcare and expose their corrupt practices.  How much longer will it take to fight and expose corrupt government officials?

Until we reunite, know that I love you always and forever.

All my love, always,


5 years, 1 month, and 11 days. Always put first thing first.




My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Recently, we heard a friend may be coming into bad news shortly.  She works very hard as a teacher and has gained much respect from the parents of her students; is a nice person as far as we are aware; and, despite her already long days, often volunteers to help others from her school and church.  Recently, she asked for another position at work, and a raise.  Unfortunately, the principal of that school made passing remarks that suggest our friend may be disappointed shortly.

The problem is that our friend over-extends herself with secondary and tertiary matters instead of focusing on first things first.  She’s a teacher.  Teaching is her most important task.  After that, her duties as an employee of the school is to help elevate the school and not cause problems for the school.  She failed the latter.  By not being mindful, she had put the school in a difficult position for the past few months.  The costs of this negates much of the good things she’s done.  Further, instead of focusing on her primary tasks and doing what is important for the school, she expends a significant amount of energy doing things that are unimportant to school and that are ultimately harmful to her health and well-being.

She failed to take care of the most important things first.  Doing well on secondary or tertiary matters can never make up for not performing your primary duties or tasks.

Remember to ALWAYS do the first things first.  Often, the first thing is what is most important and most urgent.  However, when those moments of crises have passed, then it is what is most important but not urgent.  These include, but are not limited to, exercising, planning the steps necessary to achieve your goals, doing your daily homework and class work in order to build up your body of knowledge, volunteering and helping to improve your community, taking leadership roles in your daily lives, nurturing friendships and relationships, taking time for leisure to nourish your own soul, etc.  Do unimportant or non-urgent things ONLY IF AND WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

Too often, people waste time on unimportant and non-urgent matters. For example, how much time have you spent today on television, video games, texts, Facebook, Whatsapp, or other social media?  How many hours have you spent doing those things this past week? this past month?  How have they helped you?

(Don’t tell me you get your news from Facebook!  That’s foolish.  Why would you allow someone to choose for you what you may read?!!  Decide for yourself what you should read, not allow some algorithm created by some billionaire to limit what you may read.  Go to original and reputable news sources, e.g., the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Guardian, etc.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/what-if-the-rankers-ranked-newspapers/2011/10/04/gIQAYZl6KL_blog.html?utm_term=.5f075803f775.)

Use the Eisenhower Matrix (the last graphics above) to help you prioritize your tasks.  http://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/.  This requires using your head and planning to manage your time.  (These are critical skills for success, my sons; don’t make short shrift of them.)

Because you are most productive in the morning, after you’ve had rest, don’t waste those precious moments on menial tasks such as planning your to-do list.  Do that in the evening — or at least draft a tentative list.  Then, after you’ve done your most intellectually challenging tasks in the morning, return to the list to update and finalize it.

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to help you stay focused and on task.  Take time to enjoy life and those important to you, but don’t waste time on unnecessary things.  If I could, I would go back in time and relish every moment I had with you and not waste a single second on unimportant and non-urgent things.  Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

I love you always,





5 years, 1 month, and 10 days. Always be the well-mannered gentlemen I raised you to be.




My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Always be polite — it warms the hearts of those who matter, and rankles the uncouth who expect you to descend to their level.  More importantly, what you say and do reflect on you, and I want the well-bred and the people of quality to count you among their number.  The alternative is highly undesirable, even if their number grows by leaps and bounds everyday.

It seems politeness and manners have fallen out of fashion.  How unfortunate!!!  Life is hard enough as it is without additional friction, vitriol, and rancor added to the mix simply because people cannot conform themselves to the rules of social behavior.

These people lack discipline.  One of your aunts, for example, is known for telling people off — including her bosses, siblings, or whoever — whenever she felt like it.  As you can imagine, she is the least successful among us, has been in one abusive relationship after another, and has condemned her daughter to a life of misery.  She ruined her life and the lives of those she professed to love because she simply lacked the discipline to conform herself to the rules of social behaviors.

If she’d live by herself in the wild, then she would be free to do as she pleased.  No one would care because no one would be around.  However, as soon as a community exist (and that may be a community of two), then understandings must be reached to foster better cooperation between members of the community for the good of the community as a whole.

Garrett Hardin states this best as the Tragedy of the CommonsSee, e.g., https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-tragedy-of-the-commons/; and, https://pages.mtu.edu/~asmayer/rural_sustain/governance/Hardin%201968.pdf.)  If the community has a pond from which members were free to fish and feed themselves, for example, and each member took as much as he pleased and wasted what he caught without regards to other members of the community, then, in time, there would be no more fish for anyone to enjoy.  Everyone would suffer. However, if everyone exercised discipline and conformed their behaviors to the rules of the community, then all members of the society could enjoy the fruits of the pond for a long time — assuming they used good aquaculture management and care techniques.

To put it another way, communal life is like the waltz or other fine-tuned dance.  If everyone follows the rhythm of the music and the steps of the dance, then beauty ensues.  Everyone could enjoy him or herself.  If, however, some members of the party decide to dance off-beat and to whatever steps they fancy, then chaos ensues.  Dancers around them would not know what to expect and would be unable to avoid colliding into them.  These dancers would move away, stop dancing altogether, or leave that party to find their own venue where they could dance in peace.  Joy is thereby reduced the many because of the few.  Thus, the uncouth enjoy themselves at great expense to others and exact a high price on society as a whole.  The community is fractured.

Don’t contribute to the decline of the community.  It doesn’t matter if others do.  That’s on them.  You behave well because you are well-bred and well-mannered.  If you don’t, that would be on you.

I recently heard about a couple who refused clothing ensembles carefully selected and assembled by the grandmother of the couple’s new born, who hand-carried the ensembles to give to her new grandchild.  The couple broke her heart by saying their child only wore “organic cotton grown and processed in the U.S.”  The couple claims to be highborn, but their actions belie their words.

When given a gift, the ONLY permissible response is “Thank you”  — this is especially true when you are accepting the gift on behalf of another.  To respond in any other way is simply rude and unbecoming.

Now, if the gift should be inappropriate (because it is given with expectations of returns which you find intolerable or unacceptable, because it is given to make the giver look good and you look bad, etc.), then you may say, “Thank you, but I cannot accept this gift.”  To do otherwise would be to allow them to bring you to their levels.  They cannot ascend to your level; thus, they aspire to bring you down to theirs.  Don’t let them.

Manners matter, my sons.  Behave well.  You will find yourselves in better company by behaving well than by behaving badly.  “Bad boys” may be popular in high school and later in life to the ill-bred, but they rarely ascend the ladders of success and time/history will rarely treat them kindly.

All my love, always,